Seeing her alone, local resident Kamlesh Singh Yadav allegedly abducted and raped her.
The Paswans work with Faith Fellowship, a local, registered non-profit organization founded by Pastor Radhey Shyam Philip.
“This is a ploy of extremists to drive us out and stop the Christian work in the village,” Philip told Compass. “Some villagers caught Yadav when he was trying to flee after committing the crime. Yadav said that someone had asked him to rape the woman, but he refused to name the person responsible.”
Yadav then managed to escape.
The Dinara police station has registered a complaint against Yadav under Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code for abduction and rape.
Constable Ashutosh Pandey told Compass that a medical report had confirmed the rape, but that he was unsure whether the victim was raped because of her Christian identity.
He added that policemen had gone to the village to arrest Yadav but could not find him.
Faith Fellowship established a school for village children in 1996 and also ran night classes for illiterate adults. At first they used a simple thatched structure, but replaced it with a more permanent building in 1998. Local Christians also use the school premises for Sunday worship.
“Our work is visible because of the building,” Philip explained. “When we started the school, some extremists accused us of converting the children.”
Hindu extremists launched two violent attacks on Christians at the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) compound in the same district last year. (See Compass Direct News, “Mob Attacks Christian Mission in Bihar a Second Time,” September 26, 2005.)
On September 25, 2005, about 16 people broke open the gate of the compound, pulled out some of the GEMS staff and brutally beat them. They also robbed them of their belongings before throwing them into the fields.
In a previous attack on GEMS staff on August 31, 2005, Hindu extremists severely injured several Christians. One man received a spinal injury that left him partially paralyzed.
Of almost 83 million people in the state, only 53,137 are Christian, according to the 2001 Census by the Indian government.
Call for Action
Commenting on this recent incident, John Dayal of the All India Christian Council said his organization, along with the All India Catholic Union, had repeatedly drawn the government’s attention to the rapid rise in violence against Christians.
“In almost every case – and there is certainly a case of violence every day – the culprits have been identified as belonging to organizations connected with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,” Dayal said. “Victims now increasingly include women who are molested, tonsured, raped – or all three.”
The rape of Paswan is typical of the recent “morbid extension and escalation” of violence that has been prevalent since 1997, Dayal said.
“The victimization of women, among them wives of pastors and nuns, adds a dangerous dimension to the violence,” he said. “It is tragic that the federal government – which claims to be investigating the grievances of religious minorities – seems impervious to cries for help from the Christian community.”